In November, when HLS announced it's plan to phase out the Public Service Initiative -- a pilot program that waived 3L tuition for HLS students who committed to four years of public service after graduation -- Dean Minnow said an announcement would be forthcoming of a totally new program to take its place. Something better. Well, she wasn't kidding.
Yesterday, Harvard Law announced its intention to create a Public Service Venture Fund -- a program that will award $1 million in annual grants to help HLS grads pursue careers in public service. What makes this program truly the first of its kind is that in addition to helping supplement the income of its graduates who enter the public sector by working at nonprofits and the government, Havard's Public Service Venture Fund will offer "seed money" to help grads create their own nonprofit ventures.
To participate, applicants submit proposals for grant money, explaining how Fund money will help them pursue a public interest career. So, while presumably an HLS grad can apply for funds to help him or her afford to work at a death penalty defense clinic in Alabama, they don't need to pigeon hole themselves into a an existing job within the public sector. Instead, if an HLS grad has a new, creative idea that might create the next big thing in public service, the Public Service Venture Fund will invest in their idea to help get them started. Very cool idea indeed.
According to Harvard Law School's website, this announcement increases HLS's financial support for students entering the public sector to $2.75 million this year.
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